Date: 09 Jan 2013
“If There is No Struggle, There is No Progress”: Transformative Youth Activism and the School of Ethnic Studies
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
In the wake of the Tucson Unified School District dismantling its highly successful Mexican American Studies (MAS) program, students staged walkouts across the district to demonstrate their opposition. Student-led walkouts were portrayed as merely “ditching,” and students were described as not really understanding why they were protesting. After these events, a group of student activists called UNIDOS organized and led the School of Ethnic Studies. This was a community school dedicated to teaching the forbidden MAS curriculum. In this article we present counternarratives from organizers, presenters, and participants in the School of Ethnic Studies. These narratives demonstrate the transformative resistance of students who created their own form of liberatory education. Our analysis highlights how student organizers led the creation of an autonomous, community-based educational space to allowed young people to engage in political analysis, self-reflection, and strategic organizing. We conclude with the implications for Ethnic Studies, urban education, and counternarrative.
Aguirre, A. (2000). Academic storytelling: A critical race theory story of affirmative action. Sociological Perspectives, 43(2), 319–339.CrossRef
Arizona Republic. (2011, April 28). Who’s in charge at Tucson Unified? Arizona Republic. Arizona Republic: Phoenix, AZ. Online at: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2011/04/28/20110428thur1-28.html.
Biggers, J. (2012, January 23). Tucson school walk out grow: Protest school district’s folly and Mexican American Studies. Huffington Post. Online at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/tucson-ethnic-studies_b_1224256.html.
Cabrera, N. L. (2012). A state-mandated epistemology of ignorance: Arizona’s HB2281 and Mexican American/Raza Studies. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 9(2), 132–135.CrossRef
Cabrera, N. L., Mesa, E. L., & Rodriguez, R. (2011). The fight for ethnic studies in Tucson. North American Congress on Latin America’s Report on the Americas, 44(6), 20–24.
Cabrera, N. L., Milem, J. F., & Marx, R. W. (2012). An empirical analysis of the effects of Mexican American Studies participation on student achievement within Tucson Unified School District. Tucson, AZ: Report to Special Master Dr. Willis D. Hawley on the Tucson Unified School District Desegregation Case.
Delgado, R. (1989). Storytelling for oppositionists and others: A plea for narrative. Michigan Law Review, 87, 2411–2441.CrossRef
Herreras, M. (2011, July 7). Violent message: A professor at the UA is threatened after people opposed to TUSD’s ethnic studies name him in a video. Tucson Weekly. Online at: http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/violent-messages/Content?oid=3081080.
Horne, T. (2010). Findings by the state superintendent of public instruction of violation by Tucson Unified School District pursuant to A.R.S.§15-112(B). Retrieved June 1, 2012 from http://www.azag.gov/issues/TUSD%20%20Ethnic%20Studies%20Findings.pdf.
Horne, T. (2012, June 22). Race-based studies can’t be justified. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 25, 2012 from http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2012/06/07/20120607race-based-studies-horne.html.
Huicochea, A. (2012, January 24). Students walk out in ethnic-studies protest. Arizona Daily Star. Online at: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/students-walk-out-in-ethnic-studies-protest/article_a462c23c-0eb7-57b8-9ad1-486d634371ef.html.
Huicochea, A. (2012, January 27). Students in walkout suspended. Arizona Daily Star. Online at: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/students-in-walkout-suspended/article_e63dcb6f-9954-5cd9-936a-0577e8ba7044.html.
Huicochea, A. (2012, August 8). Mohave man given probation for death threats against University of Arizona prof. Arizona Daily Star. Online at: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/mohave-man-given-probation-for-death-threats-vs-ua-prof/article_67df77d2-2d4a-571f-af40-b415eea1ad0c.html.
Ladson-Billings, G., & Tate, W. F. (1995). Toward a critical race theory of education. Teachers College Record, 97(1), 47–68.
McHugh, K. (2011, May 5). YouTube video forces TUSD superintendent to call for delay vote. Social Times. Online at: http://socialtimes.com/youtube-video-forces-tusd-superintendent-to-call-for-delay-vote_b60917.
O’Leary, A. O., Romero, A. J., Cabrera, N. L., & Rascon, M. (2012). Assault on ethnic studies. In O. Santa Anna & C. González de Bustamante (Eds.), Arizona firestorm: Global realities, national media and provincial politics (pp. 97–120). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Otero, L. R., & Cammarota, J. (2011). Notes from the Ethnic Studies home front: Student protests, texting, and subtexts of oppression. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 24(5), 639–648.CrossRef
Pedicone, J. (2011, May 1). Adults used students as pawns in TUSD ethnic studies protest. Arizona Daily Star. Online at: http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/article_26542dfa-7d79-5682-85d5-7aaed9947ac8.html.
Solorzano, D., & Delgado Bernal, D. (2001). Examining transformational resistance through a Critical Race and LatCrit Theory framework: Chicana and Chicano students in an urban context. Urban Education, 36, 308–342.CrossRef
Solorzano, D., & Yosso, T. (2001). Critical race and LatCrit theory and method: Counter storytelling Chicana and Chicano graduate school experiences. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 14, 471–495.CrossRef
Tucson Unified School District. (2012). Mexican American Studies resolution. Tucson, AZ: Author. Online at: http://www.tusd1.org/contents/govboard/Documents/ResolutionMAS011012.pdf.
Villalpando, O. (2003). Self-segregation or self-preservation? A critical race theory and Latina/o critical theory analysis of a study of Chicana/o college students. Qualitative Studies in Education, 16(5), 619–646.CrossRef
- “If There is No Struggle, There is No Progress”: Transformative Youth Activism and the School of Ethnic Studies
The Urban Review
Volume 45, Issue 1 , pp 7-22
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Mexican American Studies
- Ethnic Studies
- Youth activism
- Transformative resistance
- Tucson Unified School District
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Center for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Arizona College of Education, Room 327B, PO Box 210069, Tucson, AZ, 85721-0069, USA
- 2. Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
- 3. Family Studies and Human Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
- 4. Mexican American Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA